Daily Israel Report

PA Places Arabs in the Heart of Jewish Hevron

Palestinian Authority is housing hundreds of Arabs in the heart of the Jewish population in Hevron. Spokesman: This is a dangerous precedent.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/21/2011, 5:19 AM / Last Update: 2/21/2011, 5:15 AM

The Palestinian Authority, with financial assistance by the European Union, has begun to house Arabs in the heart Jewish community in Hevron near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website has learned.

A security source revealed on Sunday that in the last year and a half, the Palestinian Authority, through a body named “the council to rehabilitate the old city”, has begun to house Arabs in areas of Hevron inhabited by Jews.

“These houses, previously uninhabited, have been filled with Arabs who were 'imported' from west Hevron, Beit Kahel, and Halhoul, some of which were previously engaged in terror activity or have served time in Israeli prisons for criminal offenses,” said the source and added: “The Palestinian Authority's move is part of a clear strategy that no one denies: it is creating a separation between Kiryat Arba and Hevron.”

The source noted that “The Palestinian Authority has understood that terrorist attacks will not stop the approximately 600,000 Jews who visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron each year, and has concluded that there is a need to house hundreds of families in the eastern Casbah in order to create separation.”

“Already in recent months,” added the source, “we have witnessed significant friction in the area between Arabs and the IDF and the Border Police as well as with the local Jewish residents and outside guests. Beyond the friction there have been several attacks of pedestrians on Shabbat, and some vehicles have been stoned at the crossing near the eastern Casbah.”

In summary, the source said that “This situation brings the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is a heritage site, into a most serious security situation. Instead of having the tombs of our forefathers accessible to every Jew at any day and hour, coordination of the arrival of Jews in the Tomb of the Patriarchs will be required and the PA would thus succeed in keeping so many Jews away from the Cave of the Patriarchs.”

Kiryat Arba Mayor Malachi Levinger told Arutz Sheva in response: “We will work with all government and security officials to immediately stop this, and we hope that we do not have to take steps ourselves to expedite the handling of the situation by law enforcement officials.”

Meanwhile, Noam Arnon, a spokesman for Hevron’s Jewish community, said that “this is a dangerous precedent that illustrates the danger of building a neighborhood that would disconnect Kiryat Arba from the Cave of the Patriarchs. We will conduct a determined struggle, together with the Council of Kiryat Arba and Hevron, to prevent the development of this neighborhood that would constitute a danger to hundreds of thousands of Jews passing through the route connecting Kiryat Arba to Hevron.”